tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 15, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
making money. he's an expert, there's no question. alexander, the author "common nonsense." many thanks. the 2,221st day since president bush declared victory in iraq. goodnight and good luck. with her special gift, the gentlemen, here is rachel maddo. >> good evening. thank you very much for that. thanks to you at home for staying with us this next year. what you are looking at is something we have never seen before. the camera on the seafloor at the site of the deepwater disaster. not spewing oil into the gulf mex for the first time in 87
days. now obviously this is good and long-anticipated news, but three things. for this i'm going to need the giant numbers we've had in storage for a while. you ready? three things. one, two, three. first, giant number, no one knows how long this will last. this is the first time the oil has been stopped from leaking into the ocean. that doesn't mean this new cap is a done deal forever. engineers will monitor the well for up to 48 hours to see if the cap can handle all the oil. that's one. we are still in a waiting game here. number two. the idea with this cap is that they can use it to funnel all the oil. not some of it but some. any such ship will have to head to shore. what happens then? do we any back to square one? number three. one of the things this cap means if it can capture all the oil is
that for the first time we will finally be able to measure exactly how much oil is leaking and has been leaking out of the blown well. no more guessing. we will have a real number. we'll know how much has already leaked into the gulf and how much the epa can fine bp. you will recall the epa will fine bp per barrel. what's happening right now at the bottom of the gulf of mexico is qualified good news. this is a sight we have been waiting to see for 87 long days. this cap is just the band-aid. it appears to have contained the bleeding. the permanent solution that will eventually stop the flow altogether is weeks away at best. it's the pair of relief wells being drilled at the deepwater horizon site. if a hurricane comes along, which they have a propensityç do in this place at this time of year, the work on the relief wells will go away too and the permanent solution will get further out of reach.
joining us live is anne thompson. anne, thanks very much for joining us tonight. good to have you back on the show. >> reporter: good to be here, rachel. >> obviously this new cap is good news. how permanent is this as a solution? >> reporter: that's a big question that no one knows the answer to tonight. originally this cap was designed as a collection system to make it easier for when a hurricane comes for them to be able to disconnect and get those ships that are on the surface out of the way. this cap was to have pipes that would go to four different ships. and it would disconnect quickly instead of having five days' trigger time which is the time from when the hurricane is forecast to the time they move out. they'd only have to have two days' time. that was the original intent. as they designed it, bp realized they could possibly use this cap to shut in the well.
now they're to go that well integrity test. for the first time in 87 days, we saw no oil going into the gulf of mexico. that does not mean this is stopped. because every six hours, government scientists and bp engineers are getting together in the houston command center and doing their calculations and deciding whether or not they're going to go forward with this test. if they go forward and go all 48 hours, that would take us to midday saturday. then they'll decide whether it would be a permanent shut-in opportunity or turn it back into a containment cap and send it up to the four vessels on the sfas. >> in the event they decide to do this, not as a plug but essentially as another means of funneling oil up to the surface, this they are using it as a containment system to funnel oil to the ships, they will have to pull those ships in shore and
stopç the containment effort i the event of a big storm? >> reporter: absolutely. they go to another place in the gulf of mexico where the hurricane is not forecast to hit. yes, they would still have to have two days to get out of the way and then two days to come back and then hook up and go again. you do have the possibility of oil once again spewing freely into the gulf if a hurricane comes near. >> one of the interesting implications of the new system in place is that we may finally be able to know how much oil there is coming out of that well. how will they be able to assess that? >> reporter: from what i understand, they can do that by doing calculations with the pressure, which is one of the things they're measuring as they did this well integrity test. if they go to the containment is system, they would have enough capacity on the surface of the gulf to collect up to 80,000 barrels a day. you'll remember the government's latest estimate says it's
somewhere between 35 and 60,000 barrels a day spewing into the gulf. they wanted to exceed that. they would have the capacity for 80,000 barrels a day. it would be interesting to see how much would be coming out of there if they do go back to that containment system. >> are the relief wells on track at that point? >> reporter: they are. that really is the best hope here. the first relief well is within 30 feet of getting to where it needs to get so they can lay the final casing in. it is approaching approaching the ruptured well at a two-degree angle. once they lay the final casing in, they have to drill another 100 feet before they intersect it. when they intersect it, they'll look at two things. first of all, they'll look on the outside -- they'll intersect the well and think of it as tree rings. there is an annulus on the edge.
they want to see if there is oil on the annulus. if there isn't, that's good news. they can go straight into the drill pipe and plug there. if there is oil through the outer ring, they would plug that and drill further into the drill pipe and plug that. it's a multistep process. >> we're all learning so much about the engineersing here. it's a weird byproduct. >> reporter: had you ever heard the word ç"annulus" before? >> actually, a world premiere on capable news at this point. nbc chief environmental correspondent and annulus pronouncer, anne thompson. really appreciate it. did you hear that the republican party has its groove back? yes. that is what they say. that makes me very excited to find out where their groove was before now they say they have rediscovered it. things get very groovy in washington. well, look who's here. it's ellen. hey, mayor white. how you doing? great. come on in. would you like to see our new police department?
well at the bottom of the gulf mexico is hands down the biggest story in the country tonight. but the biggest political story is wall street reform finally passing the u.s. senate. reform is on its way to president obama's desk where it will be signed into law sometime next week. all but three republicans in the senate voted against it. surveying that political landscape together, this was the takeaway from the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell. >> we broke out of the washington echo chamber and fought the government-driven solutions democrats were proposing. in short you might say we got our groove back. >> disturbing as it is to imagine mitch mcconnell grooving in any kway, consider what he considers his party's groove. the republicans have decided that we shouldn't reform wall street. that everything's fine as it is. it's in the senate where republicans just voted against
wall street reform. but this the house, incredibly they have announced they want to repeal it. >> i think the financial reform bill is ill-conceived. i think it ought to be repealed. >> repeal it. because things were awesome before. the rest of the republican groove is as amazing as their stance on wall street. their bring back bush tax agenda slated to add $3.5 trillion to the deficit. they are still opposing unemployment benefits. to be clear, that's the republican groove they feel like they've just gotten back. don't reform wall street. add $3.5 trillion to the deficit and eat the poor. groovy, man. can't wait till november. at a moment's notice. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven, low-dose tablet you take every day,
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who's going to run against barack obama in 2012? well, the republican who raised the most money to do so so far appears to be mitt romney. he's raised $1.8 million as of the second quarter of this year -- in the second quarter of this year. in second and third place are sarah palin and minnesota governor tim pa -- pa -- sorry -- got sleepy there for a moment. don't know what happened. whenever i start to say tim pa -- it's very embarrassing. right, mitt romney. when mitt romney ran for the presidential nomination last time, it was awkward. remember his leaked campaign idea. first, not trans. not only does that not make for a good campaign slogan, it
doesn't make sense. what is first and why isn't it france such is anybody confusing first with france? is this a problem only president mitt romney can solve? then he tried running as the far right wing conservative candidate. after being governor of massachusetts. a state while he wasç in offic instituted gay marriage and health care care. josh rogan, foreign policy's the cable blog reports that mitt romney is raising money off of his more nuclear weapons position. send me money so i can fight the president for more nuclear weapons. thousands are not enough. there are other worlds we might need to destroy too. the obama administration, perhaps unafraid of a mitt romney challenge, made public the specifics. a 30% reduction in long-range nuclear warheads and more money
to maintain the ones we are holding onto. that still leaves us with 3,000 weapons, many on hair trigger alert. what could possibly go wrong? in 1955, pete sampras won the u.s. open and wimbledon. george clooney made his first big movie. a bomb destroyed the federal building in oklahoma city. o.j. simpson was acquit of murder. and we also came close to an accidental nuclear missile launch. >> on january 25th, 1995, the united states launched a rocket from norway to study the northern lights. we told the russians that we were going to launch that rocket. but somebody in moscow forgot to password on it. >> that fit exactly the characteristics of the beginning of a nuclear strike. one missile coming over, exploding in the atmosphere,
sending out an electromagnetic force that would fry all electronics, radar, computers, in the country to be attacked, followed by an onslaught of nuclear weapons. and for the first time in the nuclear age, the russians actually opened up the nuclear football. they went to president yeltsin and opened up the command and control launch codes, the button, put it on the desk and said, we're under attack. fortunately, yeltsin wasn't drunk and didn't believe what the military was telling him. he said, there must be some mistake. >> that was from the new documentary, "countdown to zero" which makes a strong case against countries having nuclear weapons and that being against nuclear weapons isn't just for hippies anymore. take a look.ç yes, jimmy carter but the late robert mcnamara, tony blair, mikhail gorbachev, james baker
iii and the late ronald reagan from when he was president. joining us is lawrence bender, the producer of "countdown to zero." thank you for being here. >> so great to be here. >> you talked to mikhail gorbachev in the film. for all his regrets about not being able to reduce nukes more with ronald reagan, he seems optimistic about president obama's agenda. do you feel the same way? >> optimistic? >> yeah. >> you know, it's funny, i do. i feel this is an idea whose time has come. it's one of these things where this is not a liberal idea anymore. as you said, ronald reagan started this whole thing with the s.t.a.r.t. treaty. i think post cold war, people are starting to change the way thank about nuclear weapons,
george shultz, they wloet an op-ed talking about why the reduction of nuclear weapons is important most 9/11. it's from a terrorist potentially. people like that, like secretary baker in the movie, maybe if mitt romney saw the movie, he'd feel the same way? >> if he did, he still wouldn't campaign on it. he's first, not france. he's inexplicable. if the u.s. and russia went to zero, why would that make it more likely for countries like north korea or iran to give up on the nuclear dream as well? >> that's a great question. we talk about this in the movie too. it's not that -- it would be naive to say if we reduced, iran's not going want to to reduce. they have 25 political leaders backed by quite a few people,
former heads of state, military commanders and so forth. the idea is that if the united states and russia, who own most of the nuclear weapons of the world, they need to take the as they reduce and get to low enough numbers that the other countries will feel pressure to start reducing, as we create a circular downward spiritual of nuclear weapons, there will be more pressure and less tolerance for countries like iran to get it or north korea to have it. the pressure will be a pressure as opposed to the cold war. >> it's a good point this is sort of what happened with chemical weapons. at some point, chemical weapons became taboo. it doesn't mean they were wiped off the face of the earth. they became unacceptable. >> exactly. in the global zero concept basically, the only way to get rid of the nuclear threat, 100% is to secure and lock all the nuclear materials around the world, which the president's
summit was about a couple of months ago in d.c. and to get rid of all the nuclear weapons worldwide. only then can there be a true -- the threat of terrorism, nuclear terrorism will be diminished. >> one of the things described in the film is at a closed session in the senate. joe biden, now the vice president, essentially gets a nuclear weapon, minus the nuclear material, gets it delivered to the senate hearing room. can you just explain that? >> it's a scary concept. but he was -- they were doing senate hearings. he was like, okay. i don't believe it. prove it. and they literally went off -- it's something that certain colleges do in the graduate programs. they ask them to build a nuclear bomb based on what they find in the internet. >> all commercially available components. >> all commercially available. they did it, built it, minus the
material of course and brought it into the senate. i think everyone said, this is a problem. >> it's an incredible story and issue. you've done a really good job i think lighting the fire under a lot of people. really good to meet you. lawrence bender, producer of "countdown to zero." if you have the opportunity to see it,ç you should. house republicans' latest outreach called america speaking out. when they say america, they mean a small sliver of america. that's next. [ male announcer ] why all the excitement? because new chips ahoy made with reese's peanut butter cups are here. our real chocolate chips... and reese's peanut butter cups... crammed into one exciting new cookie. so now, more than ever, there's a lotta joy in chips ahoy!
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the republican party is test-driving a reach out to the little people initiative they're calling america speaking out. the top house republican, john boehner, is hosting a kickoff confab tomorrow. the idea is to hammer out a plan for the fall election season using topics like american prosperity, providing americans the opportunities to succeed. and american values, protecting those things we hold dear. in the interest of transparency, they're going to stream the america speaking out event live on the internet. congress boehner's chief of staff sent out an e-mail saying, america speaking out is an unprecedented initiative to help the american people help grow the economy. listening to the american people, giving them a voice.
who is the "them" in that sentence? we asked kent jones to look into it. hi, kent. >> rachel, them -- the republicans have wide end their netç this time. they've invited a group of people to this meeting they never hear from, like, ever. >> okay. >> ever. >> fascinating. >> reporter: they've been shut out, ignored, consigned to the shadows of government. until now -- thanks to the vision of john boehner, one group will finally be heard from at the america speaking out meeting. lobbyists. congressman boehner extended the hand of welcome to representatives of such marginalized organizations as the u.s. chamber of commerce, the national association of manufacturers, the national federation of independent business and the national association of home builders. for lobbyist americans the question has always been, who will speak for me?
for once, they will. until now, lobbyists persons have never had a voice in formulating republican policies. except when it came to health reform, wall street reform, climate change, a jobs bill and some other things. but mostly, their silence has been deafening. their attendance at the america speaking out meeting means maybe our nation can put this shameful chapter behind it and finally admit that lobbyists have ideas too. just like the rest of us. thank you, john boehner. remember, they're called special interests because they're special. >> thank you, kent. reparations may be in order as well. >> thank you. >> last night, we showed you the military's instructional comic book for don't ask, don't tell and how to implement it. tonight on the interview, we'll speak with the man who was caught in the real life, not
very funny at all version, lieutenant colonel veranbach. he served in the u.s. air force for 18 years. he joins us next. my inner-workings a work of art. a digestive tract that should be bronzed. and an immune system so stunning... my vet thinks i'm the eighth wonder of the world. [ female announcer ] iams with prebiotics. prebiotics work inside, clinically proven to promote strong defenses. healthy inside... healthy outside. [ dog ] oh, hi, girls. nice day, huh? [ dogs whine ] i am an iams dog. [ female announcer ] learn more about prebiotics at impressyourvet.com.
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lieutenant colonel victor farnbach served in the air force for more than 20 years. he has flown 400 combat hours, including the longest sorties in the history of his squadron. he estimates the military has spent $25 million training him. in 2008, he was outed as a gay man by a civilian. that began the long process of getting fired. or as the pentagon likes to put it, separated from the military. today, the colonel is still awaiting worded on whether he can continue to 7 as an active duty airman. next month he will celebrate his 19th anniversary in the air force with only one more year until retirement if he makes it that far. he joins us from boise, idaho. thank you very much for coming
back on the show. good to see you. >> thank you, rachel. good to see you. >> it's been about 15 months since you found out you were being recommended for an honorable discharge. what's the status of your case right now? >> the latest update we had was it arrived in the office of the secretary of the air force in early may. we were told it would go through one final legal review and the recommendation would move through. at the time, we expected that would be two to three weeks. if you can do the math, it's been eight or nine weeks. that review is taking a lot longer than we originally expected. >> does the fact that it is taking longer than expected, does that give you hope that you won't be discharged? do you know how to interpret this delay? >> no, i don't. because the case has been reviewed by multiple layers already. we did request to meet personally, my legal team with the secretary of the air force. we were turned down twice.
we requested that myç legal te appear before this review board so we could present legal concerns on hugh my case was handled. again, we were turned down on all requests. we were able to put forward a legal brief that showed all concerns there. but we are not sure if that just means they're really taking our argument seriously and taking a long time to review this. we don't know if they're taking extra time because secretary gates announced more lenient and more humane enforcement standards in march. maybe they're taking the extra time to apply those standards. we hope so. as you know, some of the things he announced, my case meets all those standards. for instance, it was not credible information that was presented. it was not from a reliable source. and my chain of command did not take into consideration how that information was gained. and then finally, it was clearly malicious intent involved by the person who outed me. so my case should be, you know,
basically the poster case for the new enforcement standards. my case meets every criteria. really, the air force has the opportunity to do the right thing here, to dismiss my cases and retain me. i hope they do that. >> it sounds like with all of the variables in play, and obviously you know everything there is to know about your case and the status of the policy and what's going on internally at the pentagon, i imagine being in this kind of limbo for this long must be really stressful. is it? >> it's extremely stressful. i thank god every day i get to put on the uniform and continue to do my job. but at the same time, i don't know if i'm going to get the phone call tomorrow that will say, next friday's your last day of service. you know, i don't know how i'll react to that. so it's pretty hard to continue to do my job knowing and being under that stress that i don't know when my last day will eventually be. >> we've talked a couple of
times since your case initially became known publicly. i asked you that then and ask you now. is there any issue in your unit with the men and women you serve with, with them serving along side with you in uniform as an openly gay man? is there any issue? >> no. none whatsoever. i know we've talked about this before. two weeks after i was on your program, one of the arguments is how will this affect retention in recruiting? i had a master sergeantç who asked me to readminister his oath to re-enlist him. he doesn't ask his immediate supervisor. he asked me. i was honored by that and glad to do it. since that time, my unit has been nothing but professional and proven this survey, this study doesn't need to go on for ten months. i can invite the people as part of this work group to work with me tomorrow. you don't need a hypothetical
study. you can come to work with me and see real airmen who care about the mission and care i'm able to do my job. >> there's been controversy about some of the survey questions since the survey first went out a few days ago. i know you've seen what's on the survey. do you have any reaction to it? do you think it's necessary, unnecessary? do the questions bother you? >> the questions in particular, a couple of them i think -- well, i would just say they -- i don't want to say they're insulting, but there are things in combat you don't think about. you think about your next meal and your mission and your family back home. you don't think about who's showering next to you. questions like that seem somewhat insulting. i think the survey is unnecessary completely. for one reason, 24 of our allies have ended their bans. they've looked at these issues and implemented effective
solutions. all we need to do is call the united kingdom and israel and find out how they addressed these issues that came forward and implement similar solutions. secondly, like i said, you can come to work tomorrow and see real airmen don't care about my private life. they care i'm able to execute my mission. the last point is this survey is unprecedented. if we wanted to see if everybody is comfortable, do they want to go home for christmas or stay in a tent, 90% would rather go home for christmas. nobody asked me if i was comfortable while i was getting shot at eight times over baghdad or comfortable in my 13-hour mission over afghanistan. soç the surveys in fre1948, wh integrated the armed services, president truman didn't take a survey. he did it because it was the right thing to do. in the '70 and '80s when we
integrated women we didn't take surveys but did it because it was the right thing to do. >> lieutenant colonel victor fehrenbach, thank you for sharing your story. appreciate it. >> thank you very much, rachel. >> 2010 has seen the invention of a new political game. it is called bait the liberal. it involves conservative candidates making campaign ads so aggressively whack-a-do that liberals can be counted on to mock them. we vowed not to play the bait the liberal game until it was over. in some cases, it ended this week. let the mocking commence. ney. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it'd be like every atm in the world tdd# 1-800-345-2550 was your atm. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the schwab bank high yield investor checking(tm) account. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 zero atm fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 a great interest rate. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no minimums. d# 1-800-345-2550 d it's ic-insured.
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primary season is official me over in the great state of alabama. this week they held their run-offs. that is good news that the show. the end of primary season means we're finally free to make fun of a select few former candidates who were desperate for us to make fun of them while they were still in the running. what these candidates did during their short-lived campaigns is called bait. these three amazing alabama politicians put out ads that
were clearly designed to bait liberals like me into attacking them so they would be able to raise money. now that the candidates have lost, we can make fun of them without taking the bait and becoming part of their fund-raising strategy. hooray. first dale peterson, who failed to win agricultural commissioner. >> listen up. alabama ag-commissioner is one of the most powerful positions in alabama, responsible for $5 billion. about the you didn't know that? you know why, thugs and criminals. if they can keep you in the dark, they'll do whatever they want with that money. give me the republican nomination and let's show alabama we mean business. >> despite the sheer joyful irrelevance of dale peterson's big gun in that ad, mr. peterson and his gun lost in the republican primary. then there was this guy, rick
barber running for congress in alabama's second district. his ads were such good bait they were nearly impossible to ignore talking about. >> if someone's forced to work for months so a total stranger can get a free mail or bailout, what's that called? what's it called when one man is forced to work for another? >> slavery. >> you gentlemen revolted over a tea tax. now look at us. are you with me? >> gather your arms. >> that guy lost too. the best guy who lost in the alabama primaries was this guy, tim james. trying to be the next republican governor of alabama, just like his dad. we did post something on our blog aboutç tim james but we'v been waiting for his inevitable loss in the end of alabama's primary season to make fun of his truly, truly terrible legendary ad here on the tv machine.
>> i'm tim james. why do our politicians make us get driver's license exams in 12 languages? this is alabama. we speak english. if you want to live here, learn it. we're only giving that test in english if i'm governor. maybe it's the businessman in me, but we'll save money and it makes sense. does it to you? >> while that ad is brilliant enough on its own, what is truly amazing is the number of truly great parodies it inspired. first came the inevitable translations and dumpings of the ad into spanish. someone added scrolling subtitles in 12 languages to this ad. but the best spoofs involved tim james looks sort of alikes suggesting other things that
should only be done in english. there are a million of these and they're so good they're actively distracting from everything else you should be doing in your productive life. >> hi, i'm tim james. >> i'm tim james. >> i'm tim james. >> hi, i'm tim james. >> why are there so many foreign restaurants here in alabama? when i'm governor, juan's taco-rio well be john's flour-bred sandwiches. >> you know when you're watching a dvd and you accidentally hit the foreign subtitles button and don't know where the button was because you hit it by accident and can't change it back? yeah, well, that's next on the list. >> this symbol for pi looks very foreign to me. what does it mean? it's certainly not american. that's why when i'm governor, i'm going to replace the symbol for pi with this picture of a pumpkin pie with the word math inside. people know we're talking about theç math version of pi instea
of a real pumpkin pie. maybe it's the businessman that wants to draw a picture of a pie with the word math inside instead of the symbol of pi, but it just makes sense. does it to you? >> those parodies at maddowblog.com. it makes sense. does it to you? ♪ [ female announcer ] start your morning... hey. what are you doing up? i thought i'd take a drive before work. want to come? [ female announcer ] or make his day. yeah. [ female announcer ] maxwell house gives you a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee, so you can be good to the last drop. presenting the cadillac "summer's best" sales event. a fantastic opportunity to get a great offer on an all new cadillac srx luxury collection crossover...
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success, which will be very dangerous for our national security interests so we have to be clear, the american public needs to be clear on why we're in afghanistan. this is not vietnam. a war which i participated in as a state department civilian when i entered the government. this is not the balkans. it's not iraq. this is quite different. this one relates directly to our safety at home. >> we tried to do counter insurgency in vietnam, too. pretty explicitly. you look back at those efforts, all those years ago, do you really have confidence that a foreign country can help create a state somewhere else, that we really can stand up an afghan government? >> i think we can, ifç we do i right. the fundamental difference is the one you and i have already mentioned. it matters to our homeland security. vietnam did not, although at the time, the administrations in power did say it did, but they
were wrong. it's a process which is not easy, and you only embark on it if you decide that it is absolutely critical for the u.s. national interests, which it is. >> that's the argument. that's the case the obama administration makes for the war in afghanistan now. the case made to me this week by diplomat richard holbrooke as you saw there but shared across the administration. the case is we need to be in afghanistan because it's critical to our national interests. they say the war was mishandled badly for years by the bush administration, and that's why we're dealing with the taliban resurgence and that's why we had almost nothing to show for our years there when obama took office but they say despite how bad it is, we can't just leave. we can't leave, because we can make progress there, and failing to make that progress would be a disaster. the afghan government collapses, the taliban returns, and yes, that's awful for the afghan people but for us, that would also mean a victory and sanctuary again for al qaeda. for the terrorists who attacked
us nine years ago and who would love to do so again. to avert that, the argument goes we need to do everything we can to ensure that there is an afghan government. a big competent national police force, that isn't corrupt, that serves and protects its people, a well-trained, well-equipped army that can defend the government against attempts to overthrow it, basic services, national ministries, governors and municipal offices, all linked to the central government in kabul. even if the afghan people hate the taliban, a feeble, corrupt government there doesn't stand a chance against the taliban coming back. and we need and they need for the taliban to not come back. if not the taliban exactly, then other radicals who would happily make common cause with trans-national terrorist groups. that's the argument. so we are still there, in increasingly huge numbers. president obama has tripled the number of american troops there since he has been president. those troops are there with a definite, clear mission. set up that police force, set up that afghan army, secure village
after valley after road after town after orchard, after city after mountain, after mountain, after mountain. secure them to make room for thç afghan government to extend its reach, so the government, not the insurgents, controls the country and controls the people and serves the people. that mission involves combat because the plan to set up and extend the reach of the afghan government has enemies. people who don't like the government on its own terms or people who don't like the idea of the u.s. essentially setting that government up. there are a lot of crazed religious death cult radicals shooting at u.s. troops and afghan soldiers and police right now but that's not everybody. you don't have to be crazed or even religious to be against a foreign power fighting in your country. but we're there. we are there, we are talking about our afghan partners, general david petraeus' statement to the troops upon taking over command referenced the military's compassion for the afghan people. we're here to help, in other words, to protect you from bad
guys, to build your government in our own interests, sure, but in yours, too. the administration's argument for staying in afghanistan and what to do there is logical. it's an argument i understand. as a liberal, i believe in the social contract that people can collectively through government protect themselves, address problems and reach for greater things than they could achieva lone or with only their families. i get it. i also feel like i saw eye-to-eye with the incredibly impressive american troops who are trying to implement the u.s. mission in afghanistan. they are earnest, capable, professional and they understand the mission and its value. it makes sense and, and, and it depends on a premise that is romantic and unproven and i believe unlikely. the consequences of there not being a real afghan government are probably dire. our desire for there to be a real afghan government is strong and rational but us just wanting it to be so doesn't mean we're capable of making it so. to me, it seems likely that nothing we can do, nothing within our power as the united
states of america will result in there being a real afghan government. our presence there may in fact make that outcome less likely. what government can grow to full strength and legitimacy with a foreign military on its soil. what hope is there for a government to supersede the warlords and drug lords and power brokers it competes with. if the billions of dollarsñ month our military presence drags behind it like cans off newlyweds' car bumpers gets funneled to those same thugs the government's competing with, what better way for us to recruit for and romanticize the taliban cause than to give them infidel foreigners on their land to invade against and attack. a real afghan government is the outcome we want for us and for the afghan people. it's practically inarguable as a desired out come but whether or not that outcome is achieved is not really up to us. >> i know this is a difficult question, but if over the next year, it doesn't essentially
doesn't work to establish better governance in kandahar, if the police efforts, the policing efforts, security efforts, don't combine to create enough space for afghan government to step up in a way that is working, i don't get the sense that there's a plan b. is there a plan b? is plan b just more time? >> there's no reason why this shouldn't be successful if the afghans do their part. i mean, we have -- i've never met an officer that didn't want more capability so i would never turn away more engineers or more military police, but we have enough to do what we have got to do in kandahar, assuming that the afghans step up and do their part. >> if they don't? >> then we will have given them the best chance they've ever had. >> that's what we're doing. we're trying to give them the best chance they've ever had and they may not take it.
our troops staying there may not make them more likely to take it. to recognize that is not to accept military defeat. frankly, establishing a government in a foreign country is not a military objective. it just isn't. counterinsurgency theory be damned, it is a civilian development objective, in this case with military support. a military objective is winning a war, war is destructive, not constructive. we send men into war with guns, not with shields. it is not to accept a military defeat to recognize that the 82nd airborne can do many things but it cannot make the governor of the province not corrupt. if we think there's a future in which the afghan government is real and itç runs and controls that country to the exclusion of the taliban, and it's there because we have made that possible, then there is an american national security interest in us still being there, but if that's not possible, no matter what we do, if no matter how much we want for that to happen, we can't make that happen, then, well then, we will have given them
the best chance they've ever had. if we can't make the outcome we want come to fruition, then we should fund and train and support the afghan government all we can, but each additional american life sacrificed to a goal we know we won't reach is a moral outrage. moral disaster. that we have a responsibility in this life during wartime to stop. dollars, yes. lives, lives, no. not for a romantic wish. not for something we want but know we won't get. dollars, okay. lives, no. if you believe our actions, our american actions in 2010 can make it more likely that there's a real government in afghanistan, then asking americans to die in afghanistan is asking them to die for something that is in the national security interests of the united states, which is what american kids sign up for when they enlist. but if you believe that our actions, our american actions in 2010 cannot make it more likely that there's a real afghan government, that there's a real government in afghanistan, then